AnnMarie Baines is the founder of The Practice Space, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in the San Francisco Bay Area dedicated to promoting effective and inclusive communication in schools and communities. She is also an experienced public speaking instructor, education entrepreneur, researcher, presenter, and vocalist devoted to promoting self-expression, confidence, advocacy, and community voice through engaging and inclusive education.
Stephanie Hochman, LCSW, has devoted the past 30+ years to supporting individuals and groups to improve their lives and affect change in their communities. Stephanie has been a member of the BACR team for most of this time and is a Director of the East Bay programs, leading many innovative and long-standing youth support projects in Contra Costa and Alameda Counties. Additionally, she provides clinical supervision and training to the mental health staff and graduate interns. Stephanie is also a Certified ToP (Technology of Participation) Facilitator and trainer and is an Associate with the Center for Strategic Facilitation.
Superintendent Matt Duffy came to the District with great leadership experience in urban schools and districts. Most recently, Matt served as the Assistant Superintendent in Milpitas Unified. There he was in charge of teaching and learning, leadership, enrollment, technology, Special Education and LCAP development. Matt’s recent accomplishments include starting a new Dual Immersion school in Milpitas, significantly expanding professional learning opportunities for all staff and growing the music program each year. Prior to Milpitas, Matt spent nine years in Oakland Unified serving as a principal and an area superintendent. Matt originally hails from New York City where he spent 4 years teaching middle school in the South Bronx and 3 years as a Vice Principal in Harlem. Matt lives in Oakland with his wife Tamara and two boys Caelin and Leo, ages 7 and 5.
Chris Prentiss is the Vice President and Corporate Controller at Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc. He is senior-level professional with extensive experience in finance, internal audit and public accounting, focused on life sciences and a proven ability to manage and lead through change, improve operations, and develop departments from the ground up. He is a results-oriented leader who achieves or exceeds goals with confidence and integrity. He has strong qualifications in accounting and financial management, SEC reporting, internal controls, system implementation, process improvement and staff development.
Dr. Mara Lockowandt is the Director of School Partnerships at East Bay Center where she oversees the strategic development of a nationally recognized teacher professional development program, school and community youth programs, and early childhood education programs. She is dedicated to improving outcomes for diverse and marginalized youth including asylum seekers/refugees, low income, trauma-sensitive, and those with varying abilities. Previous to joining East Bay Center, Dr. Lockowandt worked as an educator, researcher and evaluator for youth and arts programs in London, UK. Dr. Lockowandt has an MA from King’s College London and a PhD from Royal Holloway, University of London specializing in diaspora and immigrant theatre traditions.
James sees himself as an artist, a builder, an entrepreneur, and a family man. He has a beautiful wife of 20 years and three wonderful children. James prides himself in being an entrepreneur and builder of dreams. James enjoys the following activities during his time away from work. He loves snowboarding, cycling, playing his guitar, photography and hiking with his wife. In January 2016, James was hired as the president/CEO of the Richmond Chamber of Commerce.
A graduate of El Cerrito High School and UC Berkeley, Michael Aaronian has served public education for more than 30 years. He has served as a high school (El Cerrito), middle school, and elementary principal. Twice serving as a manager in county offices of education, Michael led programs in career development and human resources. He has also served as a teacher, counselor, and co-administrator within and outside of West Contra Costa. Michael’s advocation is football officiating, at which he has served at the Division I level since 1995.
Anna Marie Schmidt is a nonprofit consultant, supporting organizations in program development, performance measurement and impact evaluation. She has worked domestically and in Latin America helping internal staff identify and measure meaningful change among constitutions.
Kathleen Harris is the Executive Director for the Youth Ventures Joint Powers Authority. The JPA is recognized throughout the country for its leadership and work with low-income youth to improve educational and life opportunities. Kathleen previously served as the Director of Collective Impact with Great Oakland Public Schools Leadership Center and the Program Director, Housing and Ending The Cycle of Poverty with the Marin Community Foundation. She holds a a Bachelor’s in Liberal Arts and Sciences from San Francisco State University and a Master’s in Educational Leadership and Administration from the National Louis University.
Karl Debro has taught at every level from middle school to graduate school. Dr. Debro has led professional development on institutional racism, student success, culturally responsive pedagogy, and equity for high schools and colleges. A recipient of the Jefferson Award for public service, Debro has been honored for his work to bring safety and respect to LGBTQ students by PFLAG and the United States Congress. Dr. Debro currently directs a concurrent enrollment program for high school push outs and drop outs at Contra Costa College. He holds a Bachelor’s in Philosophy from UC Berkeley and a Doctorate in Education from Mills College. He lives in Oakland.